CNN anchor Chris Wallace could do little to hide his shock over the “electric” reaction former President Donald Trump received when he stepped before a crowd in Iowa.
The Trump-hating former Fox News anchor marveled at the cult-like support of the Republican frontrunner who swept to a win in the state’s primary caucuses Monday.
“When he walked in the room, the reaction was electric! Everybody. There may be people here for a lot of other candidates. There was genuine excitement. Everybody stood up, gave him a standing ovation,” Wallace said during coverage of the night.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) January 15, 2024
“I completely agree with you. And it’s interesting. He’s not, at least the part that we heard so far. He’s not talking about 2020. He’s not talking grievance,” he told co-anchors Dana Bash and Kasie Hunt just before CNN called the state for Trump.
“Although I just heard somebody scream, ‘You didn’t lose,'” Bash quipped.
“Well, you can’t help the audience, but I mean he was exactly saying how much better the country was when he was president than it is now. And I think you’re going to see, I’m told, an increasing focus on Biden and a general election in a sense that assuming that he does well tonight, that the, you know, let’s get this nomination over with and unite and fight Joe Biden,” Wallace responded.
Hunt interjected to contend “this really is a race between two incumbents, for all intents and purposes, in Joe Biden and Donald Trump.”
“Donald Trump is one of the most famous men on the entire planet, right? It makes sense that he has been the frontrunner all along. And I think what really has driven that dynamic is that no other candidate has made a convincing argument against him, or shown the country that they can stand up and become or be a bigger deal than he is,” an enlightened Hunt added.
“You know, it’s so true. And what you said about the way that this room changed when he walked in and the people here realized that he was here,” Bash said, referring back to Wallace’s observation. “it’s a reminder that one of the main reasons that people love him and people don’t love him, but in this case, it’s the people who love him. It’s because of not just what he says, but how they make him, how he makes them feel.”
“I think the reason why he has been so incredibly successful with the people who are so incredibly stuck to him and will would walk through fire for him. And I’ve met a lot of people like that here in Iowa. Not to say that he’ll get everybody in this room. He won’t. But that passion that he drives in people. Have you ever seen anything like that?” she asked Wallace.
“No. I mean, you know, to see the willful denial of reality and the percentage of people who don’t think that Joe Biden is the legitimate president, uh, or say, you know, I don’t care if he’s convicted, I would still vote for him,” he replied.
“I mean, it is, it’s it’s beyond any political movement I’ve ever seen. People sometimes call it a cult,” Wallace added, expressing his surprise. “But what you certainly have to say is that people are genuinely devoted and committed to this guy, and are gonna are going to follow him. I mean, it’s a movement unlike any other I’ve ever seen before.”